What do you have that you did not receive? ∙

What do you have that you did not receive?

What do you have that God hasn’t given you? – 1 Corinthians 4:7

1 Corinthians 4:1-7

 1 So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries.

 2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

 3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.

 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

 5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time – before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

 6 Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another.

 7 For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results” (Andrew Carnegie). “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success” (Henry Ford).

To achieve success, it is essential to have team players who possess exceptional teamwork skills. A true team player prioritizes the accomplishment of their group over their individual achievement. They recognize that their team’s victory coincides with their own success. They exhibit the utmost dedication and commitment to the shared goal.

The value of teamwork is ingrained in the psyche of team players, and they strive to foster a supportive and collaborative environment that brings out the best in everyone. A team player is selfless and willing to put the team’s needs before their own.

This attitude is particularly evident in team sports such as football, hockey, soccer, and basketball, where players understand the significance of collaborating with one another to achieve a common objective. They recognize receiving feedback and constructive criticism as crucial for success. Through their steadfast commitment and unwavering dedication, team players can help their team accomplish feats that seem unattainable on their own.

To achieve the Father’s kingdom goals on earth requires teamwork. The Father has chosen to use groups or teams of children of the King to accomplish His purposes. Team players with strong teamwork skills are needed to make this happen.

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work” (Vince Lombardi). The same is true of the church.

In the Father’s kingdom, team players are genuinely committed to the task that the Father assigned to them and to one another (Ephesians 4:16).

Paul was a great team player as well as a team builder. He did not talk down to others. He could put himself in their place and share their feelings and emotions. His purpose was to fulfill the Father’s game plan: to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). He shared the gospel and grounded children of the King in the faith.

Paul was always at work, bringing people into a closer relationship with the living God. Paul exhorted and coached others. He primarily provided information rather than condemnation. But when necessary, he was willing to confront. “Paul had a wonderfully courteous way of including himself in his own warnings and his own condemnations” (Barclay).


“All gifts and advantages come from God. They are special graces from God. We do not earn or deserve them. An understanding of the grace of God puts an end to pride” (Richison).

Father I recognize that all I have and all I am is a sheer gracious gift from You. Foster within me an attitude of gratitude.


1 Corinthians 4:7 For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

“Paul now asks pithy, pointed questions to puncture their bubble of spiritual pride. ‘For who makes you differ from another?’  Paul attacks the spiritual pride of the Corinthian church by asking them who gave them the right of superior judgment over others. No one gave these people the right to judge others. The Greek answers the question – ‘no one.’ They had no right to consider themselves superior to others. They claimed this so-called ‘right’ but got it from themselves. Paul sarcastically punches a hole in their claim of superiority over others. ‘And what do you have that you did not receive? And what do you have that you did not receive?’” (Richardson).

Being puffed up and arrogant have no place in the Father’s kingdom or on the Father’s team. Paul confronts the Corinthians regarding their perceived special status. Paul “punctures their inflated view of themselves with a series of questions: Who? What? Why?” (Garland).

1 Corinthians 4:7 can be translated in various ways.

For who makes you different from anyone else? (NIV)

Who regards you as superior? (NAS)

For who makes you so superior? (HCSB)

For who sees anything different in you? (ESV)

Who defines you? (Thiselton)

The sentence has two parts. The first part is the answer to the question, Who is responsible? This, in turn, has two answers. One is correct, the other not so much.

Ultimately, the Father is responsible. He has decided. Each child of the King is different from everyone else, and He endowed them with specific unique characteristics, abilities, talents, appearance, and the like. He defined them!

Yet, on the other hand, many Corinthians self-identify as superior. They were filled with arrogance and pride.

Why would they think of themselves in this way? What could possibly make them superior or unique? Paul’s answer is their distinguishing attributes, features, strengths, virtues, etc.

None of these factors are things that they have done for themselves. Instead, everything they have; they have received from the Father. How can they possibly boast about something that was given to them as a free gift of pure grace? “Nothing is inherently theirs, so they cannot be arrogant and boastful” (Marshall). “All is of grace; nothing is deserved, nothing earned” (Fee). That is Paul’s point.

All children of the King are very special to Him. The Father is the source of their life and forgiveness in Christ. But that does not make them superior to others. The Corinthians are guilty of being presumptuous and ungrateful. “For them to be puffed up one against another effectively denies that God is the one who has given them all things” (Garland).

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime” [Babe Ruth].

“In an ultimate sense, human arrogance makes very little sense because we never accomplish anything except by using the gifts, talent, energy, inspiration – and even breath – that God gives to us” (Stanley).

¯\_()_/¯ 1-21-1

© Dr. H 2023

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